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Parental Outrage Over Anti-Bullying Program

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Andy Sheehan Andy Sheehan
KDKA-TV Investigator Andy Sheehan began his broadcast journalism...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Lutual Love got a $35,000 grant from the Heinz Endowment to run an anti-bullying program at Mifflin Elementary in Lincoln Place but he had his doubters from the beginning.

“I believe this programs was a front — a front to get money,” said Lincoln Place resident Loretta Weir.

Now the district attorney has charged him with theft and fraud after reviewing records which show purchases for entrainment, restaurants and personal services.

“It was supposed to go to kids,” said Weir. “It was supposed to go to community program it wasn’t supposed to go to someone’s personal benefit.”

Records show $18,000 in expenditures — including more than $6,000 in withdrawals from ATMs — one of those is a $204 withdrawal at the River’s Casino.

And there are also thousands of check card purchase for services, meals and entertainment including things like $92 spent at Dave and Buster’s and a $46 bill at Footer’s Dry Cleaners.

“I quit because I didn’t want to be responsible for what he was doing,” said former PTO Treasurer Lynn Mervis.

Love had been elected vice president of the parent teacher organization, but treasurer Mervis says she resigned when she says he began using PTO funds as his own personal bank account.

“I did know we was using it for his own personal use,” she said. “Putting money in, taking money out. How he got away with I don’t know.”

This isn’t Love’s first run in with the law. He has convictions for aggravated assault and drug possession and some parents objected to the scared straight aspect of the program.

“He brought in an ex-con who I know scared my daughter who I believe had no right to be here,” said Mervis.

Until recently there was talk about expanding this program and introducing it to schools citywide. but now those discussion and he program itself appear to be dead.

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